Nightlife entertainment venues tend to be dark. Some darker than others, but almost all fall into the “Gee, I can’t see very well in here” category. And, as such, it is necessary for anyone working in these darkened environments to have some means of navigation and illumination. While well-lit walkways and stairwells are great, there is one piece of equipment that will never fail:


Yep, the old tried and true flashlight. It has many uses and just as many misuses. So sit back, relax, and let’s discuss proper flashlight use and etiquette.

LIGHTING YOUR WAY – The flashlight’s main purpose is to do just that: help you see where you are going. Unfortunately, many Security Staffers don’t understand that lighting your way does not mean shining your flashlight directly the face of the people standing in front of you. Should you need to get through a crowd of people, a nice loud “Excuse me”, coupled with your flashlight held above your head, slightly in front of you, and pointed STRAIGHT DOWN will suffice.

LIGHTING SOMEONE ELSE’S WAY – Should you need to point someone towards an exit or need to light that stairwell so they don’t fall, shine your flashlight at about knee to waist height. Anything else tends to lead to involuntarily flashing people in the face. And don’t forget to point (with your entire hand, not a finger) the Patron in the proper direction.

DIRECTING TRAFFIC/HIGHLIGHTING OBSTACLES – Should you need to keep people moving, constantly sweep the flashing light in the direction of traffic flow. In this case, a flashlight held at about shoulder height, pointed straight down is the way to go. If you need to point out obstructions or hazards, stand directly next to the obstacle/hazard and shine your light on it. Don’t forget to mention the hazard to people as they approach.

BLAST ‘EM – Situations do occur in which shining a flashlight directly at or onto someone is necessary.

  • Fights/Altercations – Shine your light directly onto whatever the situation may be. If the rest of the Staff have been keeping their flashlights low as in the examples above, the sudden beam of light shining onto an altercation will immediately draw attention to it. Keep your light on the situation as it occurs.
  • Distraction/Blinding – A good blast of light in the face of an unruly or aggressive Patron can buy you a few seconds of time. Some flashlights have strobe effects which are equally disrupting.
  • Pointing out a troublemaker – Sometimes an unruly Patron may get away from your grasp. In this case, instead of running up behind them and throwing a tackle, shine your light on the Patron while trailing them and calling for back up.
In closing, always remember to TURN OFF your flashlight when you aren’t using it. Nothing is as annoying as a flashlight in a Staffer’s back pocket illuminating the world behind them as they walk around, oblivious. Besides, it wastes batteries.
Until next time…

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